Antitrust Hearing Online Moments: Jeff Bezos' Snack, Room Ratings, and 'The Net'

Online viewers of the Big Tech antitrust hearing ridiculed several moments of the inquiry on social media, including Bezos’ off-screen reach for a snack.

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Antitrust Hearing Online Moments: Jeff Bezos' Snack, Room Ratings, and 'The Net'

Photo Credit: Reuters/ Graeme Jennings

Congressional staffers confer as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifies via video conference

Highlights
  • CEOs of largest tech companies gave testimony before the antitrust panel
  • Amazon's Jeff Bezos received no questions for more than an hour
  • Pichai by a Republican why campaign emails are going to spam in Gmail

Two years after Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's explanation to US lawmakers - "Senator, we run ads" - exploded as a meme, online viewers again ridiculed moments of a tech antitrust showdown on Wednesday.

The chief executives of the country's largest tech companies - including Zuckerberg, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Alphabet's Google and Apple's Tim Cook - gave virtual testimony before the US House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel.

Bezos eats a snack

Social media users jumped on the fact that Amazon's Bezos received no questions for more than an hour in his first appearance before Congress. At one point, the world's richest man appeared to reach off-screen for a snack, to the Internet's delight.

"someone calculate how much money he made during this nom," tweeted @Bryson_M. Others did back-of-the-napkin calculations to figure out an answer.

 

 

It was not immediately clear if there were technical problems with Amazon's feed.

"The net"

US Representative James Sensenbrenner's use of the phrase "the net" was mocked online for being outdated, with watchers posting about the 1995 film of the same name starring Sandra Bullock and sharing GIFs of retro computer icons and dial-up internet.

The Wisconsin Republican also grilled Facebook's CEO on Twitter's decision to temporarily restrict Donald Trump Jr. from tweeting after he violated its coronavirus misinformation rules.

"I think what you might be referring to happened on Twitter, so it's hard for me to speak to that," said Zuckerberg.

Republican representative Greg Steube was also roasted online for asking Google's CEO why his campaign emails were going to spam folders in Gmail.

Room rater

The chief executives initially appeared as thumbnail images on a large screen, frustrating viewers who mocked the virtual set-up on Twitter.

When the CEOs were later shown individually on large screens, the popular Twitter account @ratemyskyperoom pronounced its scores, saying Zuckerberg's room set-up looked like a hostage video.

For Bezos? "Back off the soft focus. Add books. Remember books? Order a couple ring lights. Here's one. You gave it 4.5 stars. You get 6/10," it tweeted, with a screenshot of an Amazon product.

Later, some viewers commented after the Amazon boss was told: "Mr. Bezos, I believe you're on mute."

"Thank you 2020 for making it happen," tweeted one viewer.

"Put your mask on!"

The lawmakers also descended into shouting at several points, with a pandemic twist. The refrain "put your mask on!" caught the attention of Twitter users.

"Can't wait for the Jeopardy Q in 2022: This Congressional Hearing popularised "Put your mask on" as an insult," wrote one user, referring to the popular American quiz show.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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